Buying a bespoke suit in Bangkok

  • Posted onSeptember 4th, 2014

Bangkok has built up a glowing reputation for its value-for-money tailoring. Thanks to wide availability of cheap priced, high quality materials, and a large population of skilled local Indian/Thai tailors, in Bangkok you can design and create your own bespoke suit for a fraction of what you would pay back in the West.

That’s not to say every tailor in town is of the highest standards, and for every skilled tailor there are a handful of less accomplished tailors who may offer you much cheaper deals but at the cost or poorer craftsmanship and lower quality materials. So to guide you through the experience here are some DOs and DON’Ts to buying a bespoke suit in Bangkok:

bangkok tailor 1Don’t take the cheap option

If you walk down Sukhumvit Road or any of the other popular tourist streets in downtown Bangkok, you’re likely to see 10s of tailor shops, many of which will have incredibly cheap offers and specials, and will even have members of staff standing on the pavement trying to tout business with unbelievably low prices. I’ve even seen offers of complete suit, tie and shirt combos for as low as $99. However, offers like this should always be a warning rather than blessing. And such tailors should always be avoided.

While Bangkok tailoring is known for its low prices, super cheap deals will nearly always mean low quality materials and rushes craftsmanship. In some cases these deals are simply meant as a way to get you into the shop, and once inside and you will soon end up choosing a suit that costs much more than the original offer.

bangkok tailor 6Do research and look/ask for recommendations

It pays to do your research before hand, and look up recommended tailors in Bangkok before you are there, or ask around on a popular expat forum such as www.teakdoor.com.

If you find yourself in Bangkok still not sure where to go try to ask at your hotel, many of the 4 and 5 star hotels in the city will have a tailor shop on the premises, and if the hotel is over a high standard you expect the tailor to be of a good quality (but again, it doesn’t hurt to quickly google the tailors for reviews or recommendations online).

bangkok tailor 3Don’t turn up without ideas

It pays to already have a good idea of how you want your suit to look before you head to see the tailor for the first time. The best thing to do is simply search suites online or in magazines and take a printed copy of the suit you’d, to give to the tailor. Not only will this save you a lot of time, but having a very specific suit design to copy will help the tailor get the best results.

If you are unsure that the tailor will be able to copy this design, don’t be afraid to ask for similar examples of their work, and pay close attention to things such as lining, stitching, and fabric quality.


Do allow plenty of time

Some tailors will offer a fast service, often promising a fully bespoke suit within 24 hours. Unless you are extremely pressed for time this is never an advisable option as good quality tailoring will always require time.

The way process usually works is:

–          When you first enter the tailor shop you and the tailor will go through the design of the suit before choosing the materials, agreeing on a price along the way.

–          After this you will be measured and the tailor will then send away the materials and his instructions to a sewing shop somewhere across town and you will book an appointment to return in 2 or 3 days for your first fitting.

–          At the first fitting the raw version of your suit will be fitted and pinned on to you so that the tailor can make marks and adjustments. The suit will then be sent back to the sewing shop to be completed and you’ll be invited back for a second fitting a day or two later.

–          At the second you’ll get to try on a complete version of your suit and it’s highly likely that you’ll further alterations will be needed in order to get a better fitting, and so your suit will be sent away once more and you’ll be invited back another day or 2 later for the 3rd fitting.

As you can see, this process can easily take a week or longer, so to expect a good quality suit within a day or two means compromising on quality. It’s not uncommon for a good quality suit to take 3 or 4 fittings to get it perfect, and you should always continue to request further alterations until you and tailor are both happy with the fit and feel of the suit and any shirts you may buy.

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